The 1 200 acre Las Vegas Motor Speedway complex is situated along Las Vegas Boulevard North, and is home to four racing tracks. Speedway Motorsports Inc. are the owners of the entire complex, and have their head offices in North Carolina.
Several racing teams are based here and since 2005 the track opens twice a week for local drag racing. It provides a safe environment for drag racers and assists the authorities by discouraging drag racing in the streets. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway also hosts the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department during their driving training courses. The Las Vegas Speedway has a 600 meter paved oval that is called The Bullring; a clay oval 800 meter Dirt Track; the 1/4 mile drag strip that is known as The Strip; and the D-shaped oval Superspeedway that is 2.41 kilometers in length.
Plans to reconfigure the Las Vegas Motor Speedway track was announced in 2006. This would include “progressive banking”. Banking means the angle that you are driving at on the track. To increase this means that drivers will be able to drive higher up on the track, and can drive side by side. Also included in the new construction was a new pit road and a fan zone. The new Las Vegas Motor Speedway track was opened on 8 August 2006, and stock cars were first on the track, together with Kurt Busch. Busch is a NEXTEL Cup Champion and is always seen behind the wheel of the #2 Miller Lite Penske Dodge Charger. He was the very first NASCAR Nextel Cup Driver to test a stock car on the new reconfigured and reopened Las Vegas Motor Speedway track.
Just like any other speedway, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway has also received some nicknames. Most of the Nextel Cup Series races that have been held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway were won by drivers behind the wheel of a Ford. It was therefore often called “The Blue Oval”. The only drivers who have won here and not been driving a Ford, are Sterling Marlin, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. Roush has also seen many successes here at the Las Vegas Speedway track, with drivers such as Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin. Thus, the track was known to many as “The House of Roush”. For a few years, the Winston No Bull 5 Million Dollar Bonus was held at the Las Vegas Speedway. This race would award one million dollars to the race winner and was won twice by Jeff Burton, while Jeff Gordon walked away with the prize money in the 2001 race.
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Robby Gordon Motorsports is owned by NASCAR racing driver Robby Gordon, fielding his #7 Monster Energy Drink/Polaris/Warner Music Nashville/Menards Toyota Camry. The team enjoys the support of millionaire entrepreneur, John R. Menard Jr., who helped Gordon finance the purchase of Ultra Motorsports from Jim Smith in 2005. In October 2006, RGM signed with Ford Racing to run the Ford Fusion for the 2007 season. Sponsors of the car included Jim Beam, Camping World, Monster Energy Drink and Mapei.
2008 was marked with conflict for RGM, involving penalties for a switch to the Dodge Charger in the preseason testing for the 2008 Daytona 500, a decision which was later reversed, putting the #7 Dodge at 21 in the Sprint Cup Standings. Later that same year GEM and RGM became involved in a lawsuit relating to a potential merger. The lawsuit was dropped, and Gordon switched from GEM to Penske Racing engines.
RGM switched manufacturers once again in 2009, fielding Toyota Camrys for the entire season. Continuing to field Camrys, in 2010 RGM aligned with BAM Racing and garnered extended sponsorship from Monster Energy Drink. BAM Racing’s sponsor, Warner Music Nashville, will sponsor the #7 Camry driven by Robby Gordon, starting with the California event and including events at Atlanta and Bristol. Current sponsors for RGM include Monster Energy Drink, Menards, Polaris and Warner Music Nashville.
The NASCAR element of the Chip Ganassi Racing team merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc to form Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is an organization that supports several racing teams involved in NASCAR and IRL races. The association is co-owned by Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates – both of whom are businessmen. Chip was a successful driver in his younger years and he made the decision to create a one-car IndyCar team in 1990. As a team owner Ganassi enjoyed immense success. In his first four years his team took five championship titles and 46 wins – the start to a long and successful period of racing. He made the decision to partner with Felix Sabates in 2000.
Sebates was never really a racer and he instead made his way into the world of stock car racing as an owner in 1987. This was easy since Sabates was a self-made millionaire from Cuba. He called his original team SABCO Racing and it was this team that Ganassi decided to purchase 80% of as he made his way into the ownership side of NASCAR racing. The Chip Ganassi Racing team is based in Concord, North Carolina. The teams currently race in the IndyCar Series and Rolex Sports Car Series. Dodge has been the car of choice since Ganassi took over the running of the operation – a collaboration which has definitely been advantageous.
Just before the NASCAR team merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in November 2008, five drivers worked for the team. David Stemme started racing at the age of 15 and he has raced in the Busch Series and the NEXTEL Cup. Reed Sorenson started racing at the age of six and he went on to become a rookie phenomenon. He too was driving in the Busch Series and the NEXTEL Cup. Born in New Zealand, Scott Dixon was the team’s IndyCar driver. He impressed right from the start – winning his IndyCar debut and going on perform well in successive races. Dan Wheldon hails from England and is also an IndyCar driver. He has enjoyed an immensely successful career both in the states and abroad and is likely to continue to impress both his employers and fans. Scott Pruett is usually the man of choice for the Rolex Series. He has competed in a number of different forms of motorsports and proven to be successful at each one. All five drivers of Chip Ganassi Racing will likely continue to prove their worth in years to come.
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) is a NASCAR racing team which first appeared on the NASCAR circuit in 1991. The team, which is owned by Joe Gibbs, was originally started as a way for Gibbs to spend more time with his family. Gibbs was a man of many talents in his youth and besides owning the team he was also a successful coach for the Washington Redskins for many years. He started his team shortly after meeting up with Don Meredith who went on to become his business partner. The first people to race for the team were Jimmy Johnson and Richard Petty. Since then, JGR has seen the likes of legendary drivers such as Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart. Current drivers include Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Brad Coleman, Joey Logano and Matt DiBenedetto.
The team headquarters for Joe Gibbs Racing is located in Huntersville, North Carolina. J.D. Gibbs, Joe’s son, is currently the president of JGR. His brother Coy has raced for the team in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and currently coaches football in Washington. Over the years JGR has won the following championships: the Nationwide series twice, three Sprint Cups, one Camping World East Series and 2 NHRA.
J.D. Gibbs is credited with expanding the team since beginning his presidency in 1997. He has managed to increase the one-car operation to a three-car team of Chevrolets which are numbered 20, 18 and 11 and are sponsored by Home Depot, Interstate Batteries, Fed Ex, M&Ms, NOS and Z-Line Designs.
JGR also supports a number of Christian-based charitable organisations – many of which are designed to appeal to youths. The Joe Gibbs Racing team continues to be a favourite amongst fans and will likely continue to operate for years to come.
Yates Racing merged with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2009.
Robert Yates Racing is based in Mooresville, North Carolina and is an official NASCAR racing team. Robert Yates owns the team and at the moment has two cars, number 88 and 38 Fords that are racing in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. David Gilliland drives #38 and has sponsorship from Masterfoods, USA. Number 88 will be driven by Ricky Rudd during the 2007 season and is also sponsored by Masterfoods.
Ford Racing motors in partnerships with Robert Yates Racing and Roush Racing produce the powerful engines Robert’s cars have. In the past Robert’s motors have been known as the most powerful engines in NASCAR, whereas Roush has been known as a consistent motor. The combination has produced excellent and dominant engines since 2004 and since 2006 all Ford teams in the NEXTEL Cup have been using the Yates/Roush engines.
In 1996 Dale Jarrett took over driving #88 and is still part of the Robert’s team. Dale has had numerous wins over the years and has recorded the most wins out of all the drivers in Robert’s team. For the 2006 season Jarrett will move to Michael Waltrip Racing team, but #88 will still be raced in 2007.
Robert Yates took on Davey Allison as his first driver. Allison drove the #28 Havoline Ford till the mid-1993, making 15 wins and finishing 3rd in points twice over the years. A disastrous crash in a helicopter tragically killed Allison in 1993. Lake Speed, Robby Gordon and Ernie Irvan split the rest of the duties left in the season. Irvan successfully won twice and the following year he won three times in the #28 but was badly injured in a crash, leaving Kenny Wallace to take over.
In 1995 Dale Jarrett replaced Irvan who was still struggling to recuperate. That year he won at Pocono Raceway, finishing 16th in points. Ernie Irvan competed in three races in the #88 but soon switched over to the #28, expanding the racing team to a two-team setup. By 1997 his term with Robert Yates racing team came to an end. In 2003 Elliott Sadler was hired to drive #28 and with the car he won twice. Yates made a few changes; firstly he changed sponsorship to M&M’s and then changed the car number to #38. David Gilliland is the current driver of #38 and will drive in the 2007 season.